"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
In searching for an unrelated title on Amazon.com today, I stumbled across "Achieve Anything in Just One Year." I thought it was a bold title, so I checked out the reviews. It has tons of 5-star ones, so I was intrigued enough to read the first chapter (they have it available free on the book's Amazon page). After the first chapter, I was hooked, and bought the Kindle edition so I could read it today.
"Achieve Anything in Just One Year" is a daily guide book with a quote each day, and daily exercises for you to follow to stay focused on your goals, and to mold yourself into the kind of person who achieves them. I found it very exciting and inspiring. Most people realize that success takes hard work, but a lot of people don't realize how much of that hard work is just having the vision and tenacity to keep at it. This book reminds the reader every day, in different ways, that they are, and their success is, a work in progress.
Some cool notes:
For one week, the book focuses on "the wisdom of children" and one of those entries reminds us, "When we become adults, we have a funny way of complicating simple situations." The reader is encouraged to simplify decisions. "If something doesn't work, fix it. Don't worry about what others will think of your failure. Just find a better solution … be direct in finding solutions to your problems … the route to success is undeviating. Stop trying to complicate it with detours to save face."
For one week, the book focuses on meditation and its benefits, and helps the reader through a few meditation exercises. I thought this was really cool, especially since a lot of people think of meditation as "New Agey" and sometimes "spiritual mumbo-jumbo" but I think meditation is an excellent tool for centering your thoughts and energy, de-cluttering your mind, and gaining new insight and energy to keep going with renewed motivation.
The book talks about how important "play time" is to having a balanced life and reaching your goals. I am somewhat of a "Type A" personality, feeling like I need to be accomplishing something every waking minute. Ha ha ha, this doesn't mean I actually DO this, but I *feel* like I should be. I don't often give myself license to "play", whether that be enjoying a movie I've wanted to see, or going for a run when I'm behind on a deadline. But specific break and play time is extremely important - not just for sanity, but also for productivity.
A great reminder is presented in one of the entries - that everyone fails, and that no matter what you have failed at, "The beauty of life is that as long as you're breathing, you get a do-over. You have an opportunity to change the way things are every single day, and every single moment." I thought that was an important fact to point out. People get so discouraged with their failures, and sometimes end up seeing themselves as the failure, when the truth is that it's never, never too late to make a change and keep going.
There's a wonderful entry about famous actor James Earl Jones in the book, and about how as a youth he had a horrible stuttering problem. Can you believe that? He says he practically gave up speaking until one of his high school teachers found out that he secretly wrote poetry. His teacher praised him on his surprising and excellent work, and noted that the other students wouldn't even believe he'd written it - his teacher then encouraged him to read the poem in front of the class - and because of that vote of confidence from his teacher, he was determined to overcome his stuttering and read his work aloud. He was able to read the whole piece without stuttering. And look at the talent that the world has enjoyed because he overcame that great obstacle! What an awesome story.
There are plenty of other really cool entries in this book - but like I mentioned before, it's not just a book to read - there are exercises, and you'll need to get a journal that you'll have with you, all the time if possible. You'll get the true benefit of this book if you're able to do all the exercises. I know for a lot of people, getting a journal and carrying it around, journaling every day and following this book every single day for a year sounds like a lot of work … but as Nick said when he started I've Never Done That last year, "Anyone can do easy, right?" I plan on following this book for a year, and seeing what awesome changes I can make in my life and myself. If you're skeptical about this book doing anything special, remember it's not the book that does anything - it's the person willing to change, learn, and grow. I think this is an excellent tool for accomplishing that goal.
Achieve Anything In Just One Year: Be Inspired Daily to Live Your Dreams and Accomplish Your Goals